Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Today : I reach out a hand of friendship and brotherhood to the entire world

As an example, Slovenia, yesterday

In the past two weeks I have had listeners visit from all corners of the earth (well, perhaps not ALL corners, but plenty of corners).
United Kingdom
United States
South Africa
Hong Kong
New Zealand
El Salvador
Costa Rica
& Greece

You can see which nationals have visited in the past couple of days by looking at the extremely clever map/counter at the bottom of the page.

There is a deep and profound point to be made here about the connectivity of the modern world; where even an' umble blog detailing the mundane ramblings of a non-famous person from England can receive such widespread penetration. I myself have visited only 10 of these countries yet by the magic of the interwebnet people from all over can virtually visit me. EM Forster would be proud.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

today : I grasp at normalcy

I've been working on this long piece of writing but haven't been getting anywhere really. Partly, it's due to me recovering from a pretty big operation, but also because I keep breaking off to read books, like Michael Connelly's new Mickey Haller story, which I finished earlier today.

So anyway, even though I have few listeners and most of my hits are random, I have this feeling when I haven't updated. It's like I'm letting myself down, letting my friends down and most of all letting my blog down. After two years or more and several hundred regular posts it kind of becomes part of the routine.

Having said that, being immobile and full of Tramadol kinda knocks your routine. I have been out of the house about six times in the last three months. I have taken up watching TV in the morning. I have more or less suspended my business. I have started to browse Ebay and thought about buying stuff I really don't want or need. All routine stuff that has gone awry during my recovery.

So when I post a non-content item on my blog it is simply to gain some semblence of normalcy, despite it being untlimately rather pointless.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

today : sailing on the sea of red

I don't have a degree in economics. I'm not even that good at sums. But I do know when things don't smell right.

Here's my question. Where did the money go? I'm not talking about the money that dried up in the credit markets that apprently started this whole shebang. I'm talking about the money that has been poured into the world banking system over the past month or so by pretty much every central bank in the world. 10 billion here, 30 billion there, it's a daily occurence that central banks are pumping 'liquidity' into the markets. But it seems that the central bankers have driven their Chevys to the Levees to find that the Levees are dry. And filled with sponges. And with a leak in the other side.

Because it seems that however much cash is pumped in, it achieves nothing. The credit market doesn't suddenly unjam. It seems that none of this endless new cash is actually liquid.

Imagine this: 9% of American mortgage-holders are in default. That means that another swathe are on the edge - leveraged to the hilt against the value of the house, working two jobs, paying the mortgage one month and the credit card the next, and a further swathe of homeowners are one illness, new baby or job-loss away from joining those strugglers. Let's be conservative (deliberate small c) in our estiimate. Let's say that 20 percent of US mortgage holders are in one of these three groups. An annual 16 percent fall in house values means that more and more are sliding into negative equity.

I read the other day that property in the US in total is worth about 7 trillion dollars. Okay, so roughly 9% of that is the 700 billion bailout. I get that bit. But what about the rest? No wonder banks are squirreling away the free cash. They know that the black hole is way bigger than the headline figures. And as the economy continues to tank and house values plummet the bottom gets further away.

Good job the bankers all have luxury yachts to live on.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

today : I exceed expectations

Expectations. Here's the thing that I find annoying. You can't lower the bar for knowledge, perfomance and debating skills when you are talking about people who want to be either the most powerful person in the world or understudy to the most powerful person in the world.

There should only be one bar an extremely high one. Presidents and Veeps should be extraordinary people and it makes me wonder why it's so difficult to find people who have depth of knowledge and excellent communication skills I personally know loads of teachers who have that skill set, as well as self control, endless capacity for work and a proven ability to operate under immense stress without needing regular relieving rounds of golf or fellatio.

The only test that Joe Biden and Sarah Palin should have is not 'did they exceed the expectations that we have cynically and relentlessly lowered?' but do they have the vision, chops and nouse to be President? After all, incumbents have roughly one in eleven chance of being assassinated, or a rougly one in five chance of dying in office or having to resign. That's pretty small odds for someone whose main goal is to exceed expectations.